Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Summary: Chapter 1
Stevenson’s first chapter is a combination of three character profiles added to a brief account of a horrible atrocity.
The first description is of Mr. Utterson, the main character and protagonist for much of the story. He is said to possess a "rugged countenance," yet somehow he is "loveable" and well received by all the people he meets. For a more detailed character outline, see the Character Profile section.
The second characterization is that of Mr. Richard Enfield, also in the Character Profile section. Despite the busy nature of both man’s professions, both never postpone their weekly Sunday afternoon walk through town. Walking one Sunday, the two men pass "a sinister block of building" which interrupts the natural flow of houses on the street.
Soon Mr. Enfield reveals to Utterson a very haunting tale which relates to this building. He says that one time in the middle of the night he saw a small girl and a little man converging perpendicularly at the crossroads of a street. Enfield accounts, "Well, sir, the two ran into one another naturally enough at the corner; and then came the horrible part of the thing; for the man trampled calmly over the child’s body and left her screaming on the ground." Soon there is a big scene around the girl’s body. Enfield helps catch the little man and brings him back to the corner, where a doctor and the girl’s parents have gathered. The man quickly apologizes and tells them he will pay damages, asking them to name any amount of money. Finally the man retreats to the strange house which juts out on the street and comes back with gold and a check to cover the expense of the doctor and other such things. The check is in the name of a well respected man of the community which Enfield refuses to name.
Finally Enfield describes the little man, named Mr. Hyde, in such a strangely evil way, the reader is almost overcome by suspicion of this man. Enfield admits, "There is something wrong with his appearance; something displeasing, something downright detestable. I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scarce know why. He must be deformed somewhere; he gives a strong feeling of deformity, although I couldn’t specify the point. He’s an extraordinary-looking man, and yet I really can name nothing out of the way."